Leading in our Community
The “Lead” part of our RIDE/RACE/LEAD mission is about taking the initiative in our community to make cycling safer for all.
Part of that is providing leadership and training in the Rules of the Road. But, that’s not always easy, when the rules are not clear around group riding formations which are not defined under the Ontario Highway Traffic Act and are subject to interpretation by motorists and police forces.
This page attempts to consolidate resources, information, discussion and FAQs to inform cyclists and motorists and help our members manage the risks associated with club riding in Ontario.
The WCC was founded as a performance cycling club. We have 400 members. Though many of us ride in the City and/or commute to work on bicycles, the focus of the Club is to improve the fitness and skill of cyclists on the road and on the trails in order to ride faster, with more power and endurance and to train in groups to prepare for cycling events and races. We train an Ontario Cup race team and have a large, active club team, along with 100’s of other regular members who enter events and races around the province.
Cycling is a team sport. The real-world drafting techniques, advanced bike handling skills, and real-time team tactics for winning races are learned and practiced on the roads in the Region. Where else would you learn and practice to produce the next generation of top cycling talent?
While we are clear on our training methodologies, safety strategies and risk management, we are still honked at, harassed, buzzed, screamed, hit, injured and charged while training safely, and within the law, on the road.
What We Believe
We believe we have a right to the road. In fact, it’s the law.
“A bicycle is a vehicle under the Ontario Highway Traffic Act. This means that, as a bicyclist, you have the same rights and responsibilities to obey all traffic laws as other road users.”
We must stop at stop signs. Signal our lane changes. And share the road. Same as other vehicles. We must also know how to interact with approaching motorists and they must know how to drive around groups of cyclists. Together we must understand our mutual responsibilities as vehicles who share the road. Including how to pass safely and when to take the lane. We have to explain how our ride formations comply with the law and educate our members and other road users.
Cycling Clubs are the leaders in the sport. We train kids, novices and develop riders to enter grand fondo’s and fund race teams to aim for the podium, all while training in groups on the roads of Ontario. Double rotating (constantly passing) paceline is the cornerstone of group riding in the 100 clubs of the Ontario Cycling Asociation.
Rotating Paceline is not riding two abreast. Paceline is not a crime.
This is what we believe.
What do we Teach?
Riding a bicycle fast, with teammates is a complex, coordinated maneuver. Speed is attained through drafting. And the objective is to maintain that speed and fluid rotating effort within the pack through tight movement and communication.
How does this comply with the law?
Simple. Single File is Not the Law
“Collingwood OPP Constable Piet Huyssen, who will be part of the OPP’s bike patrol in the community this summer, says the rules of the road in Ontario do not dictate that cyclists ride in single file — though that’s a commonly-held misconception among motorists.”
The Ontario Highway Traffic Act does not prohibit cyclists from riding two abreast. However, some local municipalities have enacted by-laws that do not permit riding bicycles two abreast.
“ No person shall ride a bicycle on any highway abreast of another bicycle except in the course of passing the other bicycle”
…Wellesely Township Bylaw 23-2010 Part 4, Subsection 2C http://www.township.wellesley.
The Waterloo Cycling Club acknowledges this bylaw and teaches compliance, by training members in a rotating paceline formation and encouraging riders to ride single file when warranted and to move over to the right as far as practicably possible, when being passed by a vehicle. It’s a common interpretation among cycling clubs that this formation complies with HTA 147 and HTA 148(6).
Regarding the bylaw, many Police and Municipal authorities state that paceline would NOT be an infraction of the Bylaw due to the riders continuously rotating and overtaking each other.
See the full explanation in the attached Halton Police PPT.
What is the law?
The Highway Traffic Act (HTA) defines the rules of the road.
The entire act is found here:
There are some basic rules for operating a bicycle, especially when riding in the city. These include:
- · Traffic Signals and Signs
- · Signaling a Turn
- · Light, Bells Brakes
- · Equipment, Helmets
A full list can be found here. http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/
The sections that deal with the issue of cyclists travelling in a pack and two abreast are:
- · HTA 147 – Slow Moving Traffic Travel on Right Side
- · HTA 148(4) – Vehicles meeting Bicycles
- · HTA 148(5) – Vehicles overtaking others
- · HTA 148(6) – Bicycles Overtaken
Misinterpretation and lack of understanding of how group formation complies with the HTA creates confusion for motorists and cyclists as they both try to navigate around each other on the road. And ultimately impatience and intolerance lead to driving decision and behavior that put cyclists in danger when being passed by cars on the road.
This is why the Waterloo Cycling Club, together with the Ontario Cycling Association has launched the Ontario Cycling Action Fund.